Encouraging order, independence, and self-motivation are fundamental to the Montessori approach. Carefully designed classrooms allow students to develop competence in caring for themselves and their surroundings. And from the sense of pride that “I did it myself!” blooms the confidence to take on the world.
Bringing Montessori principles into your home can be a valuable bridge to what your child learns at school. Here are some ways to build that connection.
Having a place for everything, on a child-friendly scale, encourages both independence and self-discipline. Children know where to find what they need, and where to put it when they’re done. An ordered environment also has fewer distractions, allowing children to focus on the task at hand.
Montessori students are taught to take care of themselves, their classroom, and to be helpful to others.
Having your child help at home can bring similar rewards. Take the time to teach each skill separately and to repeat the lesson as needed. Each task your child masters adds to his/her confidence and self-esteem.
The ability to focus and concentrate is an important skill for learning. You can help develop your child’s concentration by observing what sparks her interest. Set him/her up with the means and materials to explore it, and let her work without interruption.
While your child’s work environment should be free of distraction, it doesn’t have to be away from family activity. Some children prefer working at the kitchen table or reading in a cozy corner of the living room to holing up in a bedroom or study. Observe your child’s response to various environments, ask questions, and make adjustments as needed.
Montessori teachers refrain from using traditional classroom rewards such as gold stars and merit-based privileges. Instead, they focus on nurturing each child’s personal sense of accomplishment. Even praise is given sparingly—saved to acknowledge a child’s effort, rather than the outcome of her work.
By expressing encouragement and appreciation for your child’s efforts, you — like their teachers — help nurture an inner motivation that will serve her for life.
For more in depth information on how to make your home more Montessori friendly, visit the American Montessori Society.